The Wall Street Journal today reports on the massive profits of companies dealing in grain processing (high-fructose corn syrup, ethanol and others), fertilizers, genetically modified seeds, pesticides and other food- and farm-related products and services.
In the last quarter alone, the six most profitable companies in this sector have earned more than $4 billion. Here's how they might spend a bit of their windfall:
Those profits make the United Nations Food Program's emergency request for $755 million to feed the 73 million people at risk of starvation look tiny. It amounts to 20% of the profits from those companies over the last three months. And remember, these companies – Monsanto, Cargill, Mosaic, ADM, Deere and Bunge – have for the most part been raking it in for at least a couple years, as they ride (or is that drive?) the congressional mandate for ethanol.
Food prices, according to one index, are up 57% in a year.